Dateline: Secrets Uncovered travels to Macon, Georgia, to look into the tragic death of aspiring lawyer, Lauren Giddings, who was killed by Stephen McDaniels because he fantasized about committing murder.
In 2011, Lauren Giddings was a 27-year-old law student who had just graduated from Mercer University and was hoping to pass the upcoming state bar exam. Unfortunately, she was last seen alive on June 25, as she bought fast food for her dinner.
She was reported missing several days later when family and friends became suspicious over her prolonged absence. One of those supposed friends who reported her missing was neighbor Stephen McDaniel, who turned out to be her killer.
On June 30, investigators discovered Lauren’s dismembered torso in a dumpster beside the apartment complex where she lived. The police were initially stumped over who would want to kill this popular and outgoing young woman, but their suspicions gradually fell on her former classmate McDaniels.
McDaniels would later admit to entering Lauren’s apartment on June 26 by using a master key. He then choked her to death in her bedroom before dismembering her with a hacksaw in her bathtub.
He successfully disposed of her remains except for her torso, which he put in a black trash bag and placed in a dumpster. An error with garbage collection that week meant the remains were discovered by investigators before they were collected.
McDaniels realized he was in trouble when he gave a TV interview
Interest was first piqued in McDaniels after he was witnessed giving an interview to a TV crew. He attempted to play the role of a concerned friend who didn’t know what had happened to her.
But when the interviewer tells him that Lauren’s remains have been discovered, McDaniels suddenly realizes he is in trouble. You can watch the footage below.
Investigators were able to build a case against McDaniels after they discovered the hacksaw he used to dismember the body. His DNA was found on the saw.
In interviews with classmates, the police heard how McDaniel had fantasized about performing the perfect murder. The authorities now believe that Lauren was McDaniel’s first step towards becoming a serial killer, but thankfully for any future victims, he made too many mistakes when he murdered Lauren.
McDaniels eventually pleaded guilty to murder and received a life sentence, but he will be eligible for parole in 2041. In 2018, he had an appeal for a new trial thrown out.
More from Dateline: Secrets Uncovered
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on Dateline: Secrets Uncovered.
Raven Abaroa stabbed his pregnant wife, Janet Abaroa, multiple times in their home in North Carolina. He then left for soccer practice, leaving their 6-month-old son alone in the house before returning to blame the murder on a home invasion.
Byron David Smith shot dead two teenagers who broke into his home. He argued it was self-defense, but police said he used unreasonable force by setting a trap for his victims before executing them.
Dateline: Secrets Uncovered airs at 8/7c on Oxygen.